It is the story of David taking on Goliath. A small company having its base in Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, is now taking on the multinationals of the FMCG world. The Levers of the world now have competition breathing down their necks, from an all too Desi company, CavinKare. Pioneers in the field of sachet revolution, and mass marketing in rural areas, CavinKare has grown from a Rs 15,000 venture to a company making a turnover of Rs 350 crores. Speaking to Sify.com,Chairman and Managing Director of CavinKare, Mr C K Ranganathan, is expansive of his plans, his interests and his philosopy of competition.
Excerpts from the interview:
Are you a price player in the market? and it is said that you exploit price points when others don't see it?
It is not that others dont see the opportunity. They see it but they refuse to service it mostly because they are looking at high levels of profitability and the easiest way to reach it. It would be wrong to assume that a Lever's with such high levels of competence would not have seen the price points.
My philosophy is derived from my father, who said that `what a rich man enjoys, the common man too should be able to afford`. Hence we look at the market with my experience, as someone with a rural background, and a greater understanding of the mind of the common man.
But we do not want to be known as a price player alone. we would be getting into other areas too.
You are known for your legendary fights with multinationals in the shampoo and cosmetics segment? any experiences you want to share?
It has been a learning experience for us all along, and we are becoming better by the day. In all I would say, it has been a healthy competition.
What has the market taught you?
India still lives in its villages, and the per capita income is still very low. i price my products accordingly, and know the people look for affordability. I need to tell them that my product is affordable, and may be in due course, he might be willing to pay me a bit more for quality.
Tell us about your familiarity with the Internet. Can you be called tech savvy?
I am not tech savvy, but I am familiar with computers and the Internet. In fact, I buy books on the Internet, and am a fan of www.amazon.com. I am into buying of management books and self-improvement books. The Internet has opened up the world of electronic gadgets for me. I see many of the gadgets and learn about them from the Internet before I go and buy from abroad.
How did you come to start CavinKare? Can you tell us something about its history?
As a school boy I was not very good at studies, and we were a family of six from Cuddalore. My father was a teacher, and was an entrepreuner. He was amongst the first to recognise the value of a sachet and distributing products in that module. He was in the business of repacking of pharma products and he tried his hand in putting honey and epsom salts in sachets.
You are a man of varied interests, ranging from exotic fish breeding to breeding birds.. can you tell something about these..
Even as a boy I was constantly scolded by my parents for being behind pets, and it was always a constant point of argument. I breed some varieties of exotic fish, and I am also into breeding of pigeons and love birds. I breed about 40 - 50 varieties , but there is no commercial angle at all to this activity. It is something which I like and do it for fun and relaxation.
You are an young entrepreuner.. Can you trace your personal history as an entrepreuner?
My father started a business, and when he expired, we did not have the money to close it down as the bank asked us to pay Rs two lakhs if we were planning to close it down. So we began running the business. and then later I worked for about six to seven months, under my elder brother, who set up the brand, Velvette..
I left my elder brother with Rs 15,000 in my pocket, and now we are a company of Rs 350 crore turnover.
What's your vision for the company?
To be a Rs 5,000 crore company by 2012